Dekotora: Cool Decorated Art Trucks of Japan
Artistic trucks covered in flashy designs. In Japan, these trucks are referred to as “dekotora” and have fiercely devoted fans even today.
The History of Dekotora
“Dekotora” is an abbreviation for “decoration truck” and received sudden national recognition in the 1970’s, when the hit Japanese movie, “Torakku Yaro (Truck Guy)”, was released. The main character portrayed by Bunta Sugawara, rides a truck named Ichiban-boshi (first star), which became especially popular and stirred up a social phenomenon.
While “art trucks” can also be found outside of Japan, what really makes the Japanese pieces special are the inspiration and level of finish, as well as the distinctive traditional Japanese designs. Certain designs such as animals (dragons, tigers, koi fish, etc.), plants (cherry blossoms, chrysanthemums, etc.), scenery (Mt. Fuji, etc.), Shinto and Buddhist symbols, and figures/characters such as Kabuki (traditional Japanese theater) or military commanders, and celebrities, really gives you a unique sense of Japan.
Itasha: A Member of the Dekotora Family
Along with the change of time came another form of dekotora called “itasha”, which was born from Japan’s manga and anime culture. We suspect this itasha category is a result of the increased accessibility of these trucks to the general public.
Even today, especially in the rural areas of Japan, there are places that hold dekotora conventions. It may be worth the trip to witness these unique masterpieces. The trucks, illuminated to display their artwork, are captivating even from a purely artistic point of view.